Clause 15 - Granting licence

Part of Civil Aviation Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 1st March 2012.

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Photo of Jim Fitzpatrick Jim Fitzpatrick Shadow Minister (Transport) 10:15 am, 1st March 2012

I beg to move amendment 17, in clause 15, page 11, line 3, at end insert—

‘(c) include an impact assessment by the CAA for the licence conditions imposed on the airport.’.

This should not take long as it is a simple and straightforward probing amendment in line with the Transport Committee report. The amendment calls for an impact assessment of how licence conditions will affect airports.

On Tuesday, when he was articulating his advocacy of a free-market solution for airports, which appeared to those Government Members who engaged with him to be a possible way forward, my hon. Friend the Member for Blackley and Broughton raised the question of whether the Bill adds regulatory burden to the aviation industry, rather than removing such burdens.

BAA raised some points on the draft licence:

“The draft licence as it stands is extremely vague…and so is open to wide interpretation and thus uncertainty.”

The indicative licence on the CAA’s website looked very clear to me. The second page reads “page left intentionally blank”. The page is deliberately blank—it is not a mistake—and there is nothing to be missed. The cost formula for the price controls outlined on page 9 states that:

“Where: Mis the maximum average…yield per passenger…M=£13.134(1+(Bt/100)) – (TRIGGERt/Qt) – Kt”.

That is absolutely clear; I do not understand how BAA could possibly fail to understand that 49-page document. However, I do not want to sound too flippant.

My hon. Friend the Member for Blackley and Broughton raised the question of the regulatory burden, about which the Transport Committee has misgivings. In her response to a previous discussion at column 154 of the Official Report, the Minister gave a clear assessment that economic regulation will save the industry some £150 million. Given that the Transport Committee recommended that the Bill include a CAA impact assessment of the licence conditions imposed on airports, with this probing amendment I ask the Minister to address the Transport Committee’s recommendation so that we may make a judgment.